Palmer, alongside co-driver Noel Moloney, claimed honours by a whopping three minutes 39.7 seconds over David Sievers and Matt Sayers in their Subaru Impreza WRX.

Championship leader Andy Martin (with co-driver Rocky Hudson) finished third a further minute and 52 seconds back in his Subaru Impreza STI.

The same three drivers topped the Rally Championship 4WD standings.

“We weren’t planning on doing it like that [by that margin] but it is how it happened and it is good – a good result,” Palmer said.

“I kind of thought about that but I didn’t want to pull back that much that I made a mistake, which can often happen if you do that.

“I just kept a constant pace.

“Championship goal is definitely to win it. We hope to try and do South Canterbury next but that depends on the foldings otherwise we will definitely be at Hawke’s Bay and South Canterbury.”

Jay Sharp finished fourth in another Subaru while Warwick Redfern was fifth in the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 8.

Martin holds a comfortable championship lead heading to South Canterbury in June.

Tauranga’s Daniel Haines and co-driver Matt Priest (Ford Escort MK2) took out the Rally Championship 2WD battle to lead home Daniel Alexander and co-driver Callum Smith (Toyota Starlet) by over two minutes.

“Pretty stoked – the goal was to get to the finish line today and it is awesome to be first,” Haines said. “We had moment on the first corner of the first stage that sort of unsettled me this morning but we settled down in this afternoon’s stages.

“We started to get the pace up and the commitment up and it was awesome.”

Harri Judd and co-driver Ben Trevelyan were third in another Starlet.

Haines takes a commanding lead of the championship with a first and a second through the first two rounds.

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